When flooding rains pounded Texas earlier this summer, many communities found themselves in crisis. With wired network infrastructures flooded and unusable and power a sometimes-thing draining the battery-packs at cell tower-sites, many Texans found themselves reaching for their radio to find out what was going on.
One area that was hit very hard by the rains was Austin and surrounding towns, including Wimberley, Texas: flash-flooding sent a wall of water down the Blanco River in the Wimberley Valley on Memorial Day weekend that swept away entire structures, killing several people and doing millions of dollars in damage. Just a couple of years earlier, folks there had founded a non-profit organization to apply for an LPFM license. Construction permit in hand, when the rains came and wiped out most other community communications they did not stand idly by. Continue reading “Radio in Times of Crises”
Good news in New Orleans: after apparently having to make an emergency move earlier this month, Tulane University’s student radio station went back on the air last weekend from makeshift space. WTUL is live during the day and automated at night.
In Brattleboro, Vermont, the community group holding a construction permit for an LPFM station on 107.7 MHz has announced its intent to begin broadcasting next spring. Vermont Earth Works just kicked off a fundraising drive to raise more than $10,000 for Brattleboro Community Radio (BCR)’s basic station infrastructure needs. Continue reading “WTUL Returns; Brattleboro Community Radio Plans Launch”
Illinois: It seems that a group of folks headed out after the WRFU barnraising to pay a visit to Springfield, the home of Mbanna Kantako‘s Human Rights Radio. They found Kantako and the station in good spirits, albeit at extremely low power, thanks to a blown amplifier, which is now under repair.
Kantako celebrates his 18th nearly-uninterrupted year on the air in five days – a large portion of which has been archived on tape. Continue reading “Scene Reports: Illinois, Louisiana”
FCC agents reportedly paid a visit (32:39, 15 MB, thanks V-Man and Indynewswire) to Radio Algiers in New Orleans on November 2. The station is off the air indefinitely; plans are to try and utilize the facilities of WTUL to help those desiring to speak truth to power acquire a spot on the local radio dial. Please note the irony: the FCC can make the rounds but FEMA is still missing in action. Hopefully the gear will stay in circulation.
More than 120 folks have signed up to help build our little LPFM station in Urbana this weekend. Registration will be accepted on-site, so it’s not too late to get involved. Even if you can’t make it, you can still participate in our inaugural broadcast. Visit this page and follow the instructions to give WRFU greetings, which we’ll broadcast as part of our inaugural smorgasbord show Sunday evening.
The station’s now regularly broadcasting from Common Ground on 88.7 FM. It has one main (75-watt) and one backup (40-watt) transmitter and is also reliably streaming online (direct links: mp3 / m3u). I had best luck listening by copying and pasting the stream links directly into player software.
The city’s power grid still has its flaky moments but otherwise it seems things are relatively stable now. I’ve heard interviews with people arrested in crazy-cop curfew sweeps, Slave Revolt Radio, and some excellent music. A recently-installed phone line will go a long way toward opening up the information flow. Continue reading “Radio Algiers Update”
Free Radio Berkeley’s 75-watt transmitter arrived safe and sound. It’s been re-tuned to 88.7 FM and is presently putting out about 80-90 watts. A shed’s been cleared out to serve as a full-time studio space; a military surplus mast has been procured and assembled; and a new antenna sits on top of it. Soon the station will be webcasting as well. The vibe is increasingly active as more and more people return to the city: there is much to do and many stories to tell.
There are approximately four workable microradio frequencies in the New Orleans metropolitan area, three short-term and one (arguably) longer-term: Continue reading “Algiers Microradio Gets Upgrade”
Louisiana: The microradio station in Algiers is broadcasting community information, survivor stories, and any Katrina-related content it can find online on 94.5 FM. It’s desperately in need of volunteers to collect and broadcast news, as part of a larger community media center that’s opened up in the neighborhood.
The heart of the station is a 10-watt lunchbox transmitter donated by KRRR, an impromptu outlet that participated in an anti-Clear Channel protest last year in San Antonio, Texas. That is feeding a homemade dipole antenna held up by a mast fashioned with wood scavenged from damaged/destroyed buildings. The signal gets out pretty well, although with just 10 watts its primary coverage is neighborhood-level, not citywide by any stretch. Continue reading “Scene Reports: Louisiana, Texas”
The primary target is the Algiers neighborhood, on 94.5 FM. The transmitter was assembled in the hardcore lunchbox motif. More gear is moving south as we speak. These stations will supplement the autonomous community organizing that has maintained a semblance of order among those who stayed in place through the flood.